Integration of risk and benefit analysis - The window of benefit as a new tool?

A. Palou, C. Pico, J. Keijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Foods and food components can have positive and/or negative effects on our health, resulting in benefits and risks. At present these are evaluated in largely separated trajectories. In view of assessment, management, and communication, we here propose and argue for an integrated evaluation of risk and benefit of food components and foods. The window of benefit assessment concept is described as a framework to combine thresholds and scores. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and the tolerable upper intake level (UL) delimit the range of intakes that should be considered sufficient to prevent deficiency, while avoiding toxicity. Within these thresholds, two additional thresholds, the lower and upper level of additional benefit (LLAB and ULAB), define the range of intakes that constitute an additional benefit. Intake within these limits should thus be protective against a specified health or nutritional risk of public health relevance. To faithfully predict outcomes and to obtain the tools that are necessary to support scientific valid evaluations, a mechanism based systems biology understanding of the effects of foods and nutrients is seen as the way forward. Ultimately this should lead to an integrated risk-benefit assessment, which will allow better management and, especially, communication, to the benefit of the consumer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-680
JournalCritical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • exploiting systems biology
  • functional foods
  • fish consumption
  • cholesterol concentrations
  • cardiovascular health
  • mediterranean diet
  • colorectal-cancer
  • adipose-tissue
  • beta-carotene
  • lung-cancer


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